The Philadelphia mom who was stopped on the Atlantic City Expressway and arrested for possessing a handgun – even though she has a legal conceal-carry permit from her home state of PA – will likely not have to do any jail time in New Jersey. She will be allowed to enter a pre-trial intervention program.
That’s a huge sigh of relief for Shaneen Allen, 27, who was facing up to three years in New Jersey prison for driving with the gun in her car. When she told the officer who stopped her that she had the gun in the car, she was arrested because it’s illegal to carry a gun in New Jersey – regardless of whether or not you have an out-of-state permit.
New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire country and NJ prosecutors tend to pursue maximum sentences. In fact, at first, Jim McClain, Atlantic County prosecutor, refused to allow Allen to enter pretrial intervention. That decision attracted a storm of debate because, at the same, McClain did allow former NFL player Ray Rice to enter the program. Rice faced domestic violence charges after hitting his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator.
Criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty, who is a former Atlantic City prosecutor, was outspoken on this issue. He maintained that three to five years of jail time was an excessive penalty for Allen and that she should be allowed to enter the pre-trial intervention program.
Luckily for Allen, John Hoffman, acting state attorney general, told NJ prosecutors that pretrial intervention should be an option for people caught in New Jersey with guns that are legal in their home states.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Atlantic City, NJ, contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty to discuss your case.